He knew I was watching him. That cute, little rascal.
It started as a quick pinch to the kid sitting next to him, and oh, how his eyes danced as our eyes locked.
That pinch became a full fledged body push under the table ( yes, head and all), and then it culminated with a perfect head lock that would do my three teen boys proud.
The boy mom in me couldn’t resist giving the “raised eye brow” thing. (Come on, moms, you know that look.) I followed up with a quick wink.
He blushed, chuckled and whispered to his buddy.
As a mom of three teen aged sons, I know testosterone when I see it.
Whether playing out on the football fields of North Carolina or sitting in the Compassion Child Development Center located in Lima, Peru, boys will be boys, but what I want to know is who will usher them into manhood?
Who will answer the call to equip our boys to become men of honor?
No matter the country, God is calling us to raise up a new generation of boys – men committed to truth.
Committed to Faithfulness. Committed to Hard Work. Committed to Reflecting God’s Character.
Raising boys by providing for their basic needs is one thing, but nurturing, encouraging and developing servant leaders brings us to a whole different level of need.
Pair that with the distinct challenges that a developing third world country experiences, and you are left with a perfect storm.
Enter another facet of Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program.
Dream weavers, legacy leavers, goal setters, world changers.
Compassion might not use phrases like that in their literature, but that’s the way I view it.
They first rescue children from the bondage of poverty by meeting their basic physical needs, but slowly they breathe hope and life into these hearts that have been dampened with despair.
Meet Christian and his mother, Nicolasa.
Verbally, physically and emotionally abused, Nicolasa and her four children were living in terror. When her husband tried to kill her child, she fled.
With nothing but the clothes on their back, Nicolasa had no where to turn. That’s when the local church, on behalf of Compassion, became “Jesus with skin on.”
Ps. 40:2 became flesh.
They scooped in and lifted her out of a miry pit. They set her feet on a rock, and gave her a firm place to stand.
That rock her family sets their feet on is straight up the side of a mountain.
And traveling to their home is not for the faint of heart.
(As an aside, I have a whole new respect for my attempt at the 30 Day Shred. I would not have gained the 15 pounds I have if I lived where Nicolasa does. I shot the coolest video with my iphone as we were walking up the mountain, but I am breathing so incredibly hard that our team was doubled over in laughter, yes AT ME, not with me. They deemed it inappropriate for public viewing. Just know, that loud humming of the theme song Rocky translates in any culture. Ask me how I know? I am not kidding. I needed the inspiration to make it to the top.)
(Since I couldn’t show the best video, this is just a tiny glimpse. It would have been longer with a view of the house, but rocks started hitting my head.)
If reading through email,you must click through to the blog to watch video.
Although in our minds, this house is incredibly tiny for a family of five, Nicolosa gratitude permeated her presence.
With Compassion’s intervention and assistance, for the first time she feels hope. For the first time, she believes there is a God. For the first time, she dreams for her children’s future.
Dream Weaver, Legacy Leaver
When asked what Christian, the sponsored Compassion child, wanted to do with his future, he replied, “An account.”
Dream Weaver, Legacy Leaver, Goal Setter
Between 1980 and 2000, 70,000 people perished in the civil war that transpired in Peru. This created an entire generation of families with no goals or dreams for the future. That generation is now raising children that only live moment by moment. Even though the war is over, the despair destroys.
Men, meant to provide, protect and serve their families have distorted what it means to be men of strength and perversing that into men of intimidation and abuse.
Men, meant to model bravery and courage in the face of despair, flee when the going gets tough. Instead of battling for their family unit, they leave the women to fight for themselves.
That’s just a glimmer of Nicolasa’s story.
Christian has been forced to become the man of the family. As his mother leaves early to travel down the mountain to work long hours of manual labor, he readies his younger siblings for school before he himself must go. He helps cook for the family, since the mother is often working, and is responsible for hauling water up and down to the house when it’s available.
Unlike most American children, mine included, recreation is a luxury not afforded. There is so much work to do just to survive the day to day, but Compassion partners with these families and in turn, generations are affected in the name of Jesus Christ. They don’t just stop at physical needs. They provide the mentor ship necessary to walk hand and hand with a child to adult hood.
So while that may be Nicolasa’s story, a new chapter is being written in Christian’s life story.
He is not defined by his father’s poor choices. He has someone who is the ultimate Father to the Fatherless, and he has Compassion mentors who are breathing life affirming words into his heart, but they can’t do it by themselves.
Boys will be boys, but who will usher them into manhood?
We’ve answered that, but they desperately need our help.
Since yesterday’s visit of my sponsor child’s home truly did me in, it was refreshing to view the Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program through a new lens. I saw no less poverty today. In fact, the needs experienced and stories we heard were even greater than yesterday, but my heart is full.
Full of hope and wonder at what this organization, by partnering with the local church, is doing to change the world.
One sponsor. One Child. One Generation Impacted = World Changers.
Today as you read this, 5,000 children in Peru wait to be sponsored.
Let one more child dream of changing the world and sponsor today.
Dream Weavers, Legacy Leavers, Goal Setters, World Changers.
For more perspectives on our time in Peru, visit my precious friends, Shaun Groves, Angie Smith and Kevin and Layla Palmer who are all journey this with me, each with their own perspectives on what we are experiencing.
To read all my posts from Peru, click here.
I have too much that I’ve been processing today to fit it all in my post. With my attentions spent specifically tuned in today to boys, my own teen sons have been heavy on my heart. My dreams for them are similar to mothers all over the world.
As I looked into the eyes of these Peruvian boys, I couldn’t help but whisper the same prayers for them that I do my own
boys young men – to build a generation of men living boldly for Him.
Have you declared this for your own children?
Join with me as I pray these into our sons lives.
Amen? Let’s Love Them Well.
A few more pictures…
As we closed our home visit, we prayed over Nicolosa and Christian. Prayers of blessing and truth.
Then I gave her a necklace with a bible verse on one side and the word JOY on the other. From one momma’s heart to another, I wanted her to wear this necklace as a reminder that when times seem so difficult and she is weary, The Joy of the Lord is her strength.
Layla and I so relived that we are almost back to level land.
I’m missing my own five children a whole ton, so I will take what I can get from these other blessings.
And in honor of all the boy moms, remember, the days are long, but the years are short. Love them well.
One of the things I most value about Compassion bloggers is how each writer helps our eyes open a little wider, how readers are compelled to consider the plight of those living in poverty, equipped to better understand how great the needs are. And how good we have it, being born in a country where life (for the most part) is easy and convenient.
You’re doing a wonderful job of bringing us to Peru; and your faithfulness to share Compassion’s message of HOPE is inspiring. Thank you, friend.
(and, my WORD, your boys are giants! 🙂 )
OH Jen, your words. Their story. You have shared it so well and I am in tears. The photos of you and your boys at the end, and those photos of the boys, young men, with the words “Provider” “visionary” “warrior”. OH I am a mess.
Great post! So much wisdom and insight! Trying to take it all in and remember. We have a sweet girl we sponsor and honestly I wonder if it blesses, teaches, and humbles us more than helps her? Although she lives in Africa, I keep imagining her living in poverty like the people you talked about here and it’s breaking my heart!
Thank you for sharing all of this with your readers!
“Defender” is the one that pushed me over the edge.
Powerful prayers for young boys. Wow. I love your minister’s heart that you are sharing with all of these kids.
Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to pray for the boys of the world, mine included. We need strong men in God. Thank you for sharing your experience in Peru as well. It is so touching.
Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up today to only be informed by our older son that both toilets downstairs were clogged and one overflowed! I was about to freak out but then I remembered how you told us about the toilets in Peru and I really had to count my blessings, wet rags and all!
Thanks for the eye opener!